Genetic variation in peanuts
Increasing desirable genetic variation in peanut
In spite of the progress in breeding for increased yield in peanut over the last two decades, peanut has low genetic diversity. Increasing this diversity for disease resistances that ultimately impact yield and economic return is possible by capturing novel alleles from wild relatives.
Georgia ranks first in peanut production in the US. Peanut production requires costly inputs such as pesticides to control diseases and pests, and irrigation to maximize yield and reduce aflatoxin contamination. Peanut producers need a more cost-effective production system, which can be achieved in part by improving the genetics of the crop for host-plant resistance. In addition, resistance traits need to be combined with quality traits that make the product more marketable.
Using genome sequence and trait data, molecular markers have been identified for late leaf spot and nematode resistance and successfully used to accelerate breeding and selection for these traits. Application of molecular markers saves time during the selection process during breeding and reduces the cost to advance breeding lines by early elimination of lines unlikely to possess a desired trait. More rapid deployment of improved cultivars with excellent production characteristics stacked with genetic disease resistance contributes to economic and environmental sustainability.
Genetic resistance to pests and diseases will reduce chemical inputs needed for control, resulting in a healthier crop and reduction of costs to the grower.